DC United sign defender, US int'l Steve Birnbaum to new multi-year contract

Steve Birnbaum - DC United - closeup

D.C. United have re-signed US national team center back Steve Birnbaum to a multi-year contract, the club announced on Friday.

ESPN’s Marc Stein first reported the extension on Tuesday, when he tweeted that United and Birnbaum had agreed to a new four-year deal.

“Through his work ethic and unwavering competitiveness, Steve has developed into a top central defender in MLS,” United GM Dave Kasper said in a statement released by the club. “Steve has become a leader in the locker room and has made a strong connection with his teammates, our fans and the city of Washington, D.C., and we are thrilled to have secured the long-term future of another talented young player as we move into 2017 and beyond.”

Birnbaum, 25, had a strong season in 2016, setting career highs in appearances (26), starts (26), minutes (2,340), goals (3) and assists (2) for a D.C. team that allowed the third-fewest goals in the Eastern Conference. He also broke through on the international scene, scoring his first USMNT goal in a friendly win against Iceland on Jan. 31 and earning a spot on the USMNT's Copa America Centenario squad and World Cup qualifying rosters in March, September and November.

A subject of transfer rumors throughout 2016, Birnbaum has been with United since 2014, when D.C. selected him with the second overall pick in the MLS SuperDraft. He has 69 career regular-season appearances with United, who have qualified for the playoffs in all three of his years with the club.